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Reuben Foster pleads not guilty to felony charges

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San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the three felony charges he faces from a February incident, according to the Santa Clara County (Calif.) District Attorney's Office.

A preliminary hearing has been set for May 17.

The 24-year-old Foster was charged with domestic violence with an allegation that he inflicted great bodily harm; forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime; and possession of an assault weapon. If convicted on all counts, Foster faces the possibility of more than 11 years in prison.

The charges are a result of Foster's former girlfriend, Elissa Ennis, making accusations that led to Foster's arrest on Feb. 11 in Los Gatos, Calif. Ennis has since recanted the complaints.

Foster, whom the 49ers selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, has remained away from the team throughout its offseason program as the legal process plays out.

General manager John Lynch said on April 23 that the 49ers are prepared to move on from Foster if the allegations are proven true.

"I do want to be very clear, abundantly clear, that if these charges are proven true, that if Reuben did indeed hit this young lady, he won't be part of our organization going forward," Lynch said at the time. "That's the standard we want on our team, that's the standard we are going to operate under."

Additionally, Foster remains subject to potential NFL discipline under the league's personal-conduct policy, which mandates a six-game suspension for a first-time domestic violence offense.

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